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Ever After

Ever After

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Ever After

valoraciones:
4/5 (9 valoraciones)
Longitud:
415 página
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
May 19, 2008
ISBN:
9780310296058
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Two couples torn apart—one by war between countries, one by war within.

In this moving sequel to Even Now, Emily Anderson, now twenty, is attending college on a soccer scholarship when she meets the man who changes everything for her: Army reservist Justin Baker. Their tender relationship, founded on a mutual faith in God and nurtured by their trust and love for each other, proves to be a shining inspiration to everyone they know, especially Emily’s reunited birth parents, Lauren Gibbs and Shane Galanter.

Lauren and Shane still struggle to move past their opposing beliefs about war, politics, and faith. Shane believes it’s possible but Lauren doesn’t. So she says a painful good-bye to her long-ago love and returns to her job as a war correspondent in Afghanistan.

Both hearts are shattered, and Lauren and Shane believe that this time their relationship has truly ended forever. Then tragedy sends shock waves through all their lives. Can Lauren and Shane set aside their opposing views so that love—God’s love—might win, no matter how great the odds?

Editorial:
Publicado:
May 19, 2008
ISBN:
9780310296058
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books have been developed into a TV series now available everywhere. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months. Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty nesters, living in Tennessee near four of their adult children.


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Ever After - Karen Kingsbury

Other Life-Changing Fiction™

by Karen Kingsbury

September 11 Series

One Tuesday Morning

Beyond Tuesday Morning

Stand-Alone Titles

Oceans Apart

Even Now

A Thousand Tomorrows

Where Yesterday Lives

When Joy Came to Stay

On Every Side

Divine

Redemption Series

Redemption

Remember

Return

Rejoice

Reunion

Firstborn Series

Fame

Forgiven

Found

Family

Forever (winter 2007)

Red Gloves Series

Gideon’s Gift

Maggie’s Miracle

Sarah’s Song

Hannah’s Hope

Forever Faithful Series

Waiting for Morning

Moment of Weakness

Halfway to Forever

Women of Faith Fiction Series

A Time to Dance

A Time to Embrace

Children’s Title

Let Me Hold You Longer

Miracle Collections

A Treasury of Christmas Miracles

A Treasury of Miracles for Women

A Treasury of Miracles for Teens

A Treasury of Miracles for Friends

A Treasury of Adoption Miracles

Gift Books

Stay Close Little Girl

Be Safe Little Boy

www.KarenKingsbury.com

Ever After

ePub Format

Copyright © 2006 by Karen Kingsbury

This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product.

Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information.

Requests for information should be addressed to:

Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

ISBN-10: 0-310-29605-6

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone numbers printed in this book are offered as a resource to you. These are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for the content of these sites and numbers for the life of this book.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photo copy, recording, or any other — except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 5375 Roundup Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80910

Interior design by Michelle Espinoza

Cover design by Brand Navigation

Cover photo by Stever Gardner, www.shootpw.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS

In Memory

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

From the Author

Book Club Questions

About the Author

About the Publisher

IN MEMORY OF

JOSHUA DINGLER

I bring you this book in honor of the memory of Joshua Dingler, age nineteen.

At the final stages of editing Ever After, I received a letter from one of my readers — Karen Dingler. She said God had used one of my books to help her understand that her son, Joshua Dingler of the First Battalion, the 108th Armor Regiment of the U.S. Army in Calhoun, Georgia, had not died in vain.

What defined Joshua was his life, how he lived. Joshua was the son of a pastor, Tommy Dingler. His mother had just taken on the role of his army unit’s family support group leader when his family learned of his death. Joshua left behind a younger brother, Samuel.

When he was a young boy, Joshua played Little League baseball. He was a Boy Scout who earned the rank Life Scout, and in middle school, he went to Australia and New Zealand as a student ambassador for People 2 People. He helped out at church and volunteered at the sound booth. He was in JROTC at East Paulding High School in Hiram, Georgia, where he was known and loved by everyone he came in contact with. He would defend NASCAR to anyone who questioned it as a sport. Joshua planned to come home and marry his high school love and wanted to be a history teacher.

In honor of Joshua, I am starting two new links on my website, www.KarenKingsbury.com. The first is for Active Military Heroes. The second is for Fallen Military Heroes. If you have a friend or loved one serving our country, please send me a photo and a brief description of that person — name, rank, where they are serving, and how we can pray for them. The Active Military Heroes page will honor these men and women. It will be a place where readers can see the face on the fight for freedom, a place where readers can visit to pray for each other. If you’ve lost a loved one or a friend in military action, please send that photo and a brief description also. This will be posted on my Fallen Military Heroes page. Joshua Dingler’s photo will be at the top of that page. If you are sending a photo and information, please put the word SOLDIER in the subject line and send it to Kingsburydesk@aol.com.

As you read the pages of Ever After, think about Joshua Dingler. The sacrifice for freedom is a real one. And please pray for and support the families and members of the U.S. Military. Pray every day.

In His light and love,

Karen Kingsbury

Joshua Dingler, 1986 – 2005

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As always, this book couldn’t have come together without the help of many people. First, a special thanks to my great friends at Zondervan, who believe in this sequel and have enormous dreams and prayers for the way it will touch people and change lives. Thank you!

Also, thanks to my amazing agent, Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications. I am amazed more as every day passes at your integrity, your brilliant talent, and your commitment to the Lord and to getting my Life-Changing Fiction™ out to readers all over the world. You are a strong man of God, Rick. You care for my career as if you were personally responsible for the souls God touches through these books. Thank you for looking out for my personal time — the hours I have with my husband and kids. I couldn’t do this without you.

As always, this book wouldn’t be possible without the help of my husband and kids, who will eat just about anything when I’m on deadline and who understand and love me anyway. I thank God I’m still able to spend more time with you than with my pretend people — as Austin calls them. Thanks for understanding the sometimes crazy life I lead and for always being my greatest support.

Also, thanks to my mother and assistant, Anne Kingsbury, for her great sensitivity and love for my readers. You are a reflection of my own heart, Mom, or maybe I’m a reflection of yours. Either way, we are a great team, and I appreciate you more than you know. I’m grateful, also, for my dad, Ted Kingsbury, who is and always has been my greatest encourager. I remember when I was a little girl, Dad, and you would say, One day, honey, everyone will read your books and know what a wonderful writer you are. Thank you for believing in me long before anyone else ever did. Thanks also to my sisters, Tricia and Susan and Lynne, who help out with my business when the workload is too large to see around. I appreciate you!

And a thanks to Katie Johnson, who runs a large part of my business life — everything from my accounting to my calendar. God brought you to me, Katie, and I’ll be grateful as long as I’m writing for Him. Don’t ever leave, okay? And to Olga Kalachik, whose hard work helping me prepare for events allows me to operate a significant part of my business from my home. The personal touch you both bring to my ministry is precious to me, priceless to me … thank you with all my heart.

And thanks to my friends and family who continue to surround me with love and prayer and support. I could list you by name, but you know who you are. Thank you for believing in me and for seeing who I really am. A true friend stands by through the changing seasons of life and cheers you on, not for your successes, but for staying true to what matters most. You are the ones who know me that way, and I’m grateful for every one of you. Please keep praying for me, since I can’t do a page of this, not even a word, without God’s strength and gift.

Of course, the greatest thanks goes to God Almighty, the most wonderful Author of all — the Author of life (Hebrews 12:2). The gift is Yours. I pray I might have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to use it for You all the days of my life.

DEDICATED TO …

Donald, my prince charming. In this season of life, with you working as full-time teacher here at home for our boys, I am maybe more proud of you than ever. I’m amazed at the way you blend love and laughter, tenderness and tough standards, to bring out the best in our boys. A second season of homeschooling? Wow! Don’t for a minute think that your role in all this is somehow smaller. You have the greatest responsibility of all. Not only with our children, but in praying for me as I write and speak and go about this crazy, fun job God has given me. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for loving me, for being my best friend, and for finding date moments amidst even the most maniacal or mundane times. My favorite times are with you by my side. I love you always, forever.

Kelsey, my precious daughter. You are just newly seventeen, and somehow that sounds more serious than the other ages. As if we jumped four years over the past twelve months. Seventeen brings with it the screeching of brakes on a childhood that has gone along full speed until now. Seventeen? Seventeen years since I held you in the nursery, feeling a sort of love I’d never felt before? Seventeen sounds like bunches of lasts all lined up ready to take the stage — and college counselors making plans to take my little girl from home into a brand-new big world. Seventeen tells me it won’t be much longer. Sometimes I find myself barely able to exhale. The ride is so fast, I can only try not to blink so I won’t miss a minute. Like the most beautiful springtime flower, I see you growing and unfolding, becoming interested in current events and formulating godly viewpoints that are yours alone. The same is true in dance, where you are simply breathtaking on stage. I believe in you, honey. Keep your eyes on Jesus and the path will be easy to follow. Don’t ever stop dancing. I love you.

Tyler, my beautiful song. Can it be that you are fourteen and helping me bring down the dishes from the top shelf? Just yesterday, people who called confused you with Kelsey. Now they confuse you with your dad — in more ways than one. You are on the bridge, dear son, making the transition between Neverland and Tomorrowland, and becoming a strong, godly young man in the process. Keep giving Jesus your very best and always remember that you’re in a battle. In today’s world, Ty, you need His armor every day, every minute. Don’t forget … when you’re up there on stage, no matter how bright the lights, I’ll be watching from the front row, cheering you on. I love you.

Sean, my wonder boy. Your sweet nature continues to be a bright light in our home. It seems a lifetime ago that we first brought you — our precious son — home from Haiti. It’s been my great joy to watch you grow and develop this past year, learning more about reading and writing and, of course, animals. You’re a walking encyclopedia of animal facts, and that too brings a smile to my face. Recently a cold passed through the family, and you handled it better than any of us. Smiling through your fever, eyes shining even when you felt your worst. Sometimes I try to imagine if everyone, everywhere had your outlook — what a sunny place the world would be. Your hugs are something I look forward to, Sean. Keep close to Jesus. I love you.

Josh, my tender tough guy. You continue to excel at everything you do, but my favorite time is late at night when I poke my head into your room and see that — once again — your nose is buried in your Bible. You really get it, Josh. I loved hearing you talk about baptism the other day, how you feel ready to make that decision, that commitment to Jesus. At almost twelve, I can only say that every choice you make for Christ will take you closer to the plans He has for your life. By being strong in the Lord, first and foremost, you’ll be strong at everything else. Keep winning for Him, dear son. You make me so proud. I love you.

EJ, my chosen one. You amaze me, Emmanuel Jean! The other day you told me you pray often, and I asked you what about. I thank God a lot, you told me. I thank Him for my health and my life and my home. Your normally dancing eyes grew serious. And for letting me be adopted into the right family. Well. I still feel the sting of tears when I imagine you praying that way. I’m glad God let you be adopted into the right family too. One of my secret pleasures is watching you and Daddy becoming so close. I’ll glance over at the family room during a playoff basketball game on TV, and there you’ll be, snuggled up close to him, his arm around your shoulders. As long as Daddy’s your hero, you have nothing to worry about. You couldn’t have a better role model. I know that Jesus is leading the way, and that you are excited to learn the plans He has for you. But for you, this year will always stand out as a turning point. Congratulations, honey! I love you.

Austin, my miracle child. Can my little boy really be nine years old? Even when you’re twenty-nine, you’ll be my youngest, my baby. I guess that’s how it is with the last child, but there’s no denying what my eyes tell me. You’re not little anymore. Even so, I love that — once in a while — you wake up and scurry down the hall to our room so you can sleep in the middle. I still see the blond-haired infant who lay in intensive care, barely breathing, awaiting emergency heart surgery. I’m grateful for your health, precious son; grateful God gave you back to us at the end of that long ago day. Your heart remains the most amazing part of you, not only physically, miraculously, but because you have such kindness and compassion for people. One minute, tough boy hunting frogs and snakes out back, pretending you’re an Army Ranger, and then getting teary-eyed when Horton the Elephant nearly loses his dust speck full of little Who people. Be safe, baby boy. I love you.

And to God Almighty, the Author of life, who has, for now, blessed me with these.

ONE

Two blue and gray fighter jets raced low over the neighborhood and looped toward the barren mountains in the west. Lauren Gibbs heard the vibration in the subtle rattle of picture frames on the mantel, sensed it in the wood floor of the old house, felt it all the way to her soul. Training drills, same as most days. She froze long enough to watch them, long enough to catch her fiancé’s attention.

They still bug you.

It wasn’t a question. Shane Galanter doled out the stack of plates in his hand one at a time onto the white linen tablecloth.

Not really. Lauren grabbed the napkins and followed behind him, setting one at each place. She caught his eye and hesitated. No fooling him, not when he knew all the back roads of her heart. She released a slow breath.Okay, yes. She set a napkin down on the next plate. They bother me.

Shane didn’t ask if her frustration was with the noise of the jets, or with the fact that they flew training maneuvers over the neighborhood where he lived, a few blocks from the navy’s Top Gun facility in Fallon, Nevada. Or if it was something bigger. Like the fact that these were the very jets and pilots that would be used in battle if necessary.

He didn’t have to ask. He already knew.

Because long ago he’d learned to know her mind, back when they first fell in love as kids. Yes, time and circumstances had separated them for nearly two decades, and now that they were in their midthirties, they’d both changed. But even so, ever since they’d found each other again, Shane could still look into her eyes and know what she was thinking.

Sometimes, Lauren. He crooked his finger and placed it gently beneath her chin. His eyes looked more tired than usual. Sometimes I wonder about us.

Panic stirred and she felt her world tilt. She shouldn’t have hesitated at the noise, shouldn’t have looked out the window. It’s no big deal. An anxious laugh sounded in her throat. This is your life. I can handle it.

He didn’t look away. It’s about to be your life too. His tone was kind, careful. Remember?

I know. She put her hand alongside his cheek and kissed him. By then I’ll be used to it.

He searched her eyes. It’s been six months, Lauren.

She refused to give fear a foothold. Instead she kissed him again, slower this time. I’m trying. She breathed the words against his lips. Give me that, at least.

The wedding was set for Christmas Eve — not by her choosing. She would’ve had them married by now. Every conflict resolved and nothing but a bright future ahead of them. Their nineteen-year-old daughter Emily felt the same, especially since her fall figured to be crazy-busy. She had accepted a soccer scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and she was about to start work in the public information office of the army base at nearby Fort Lewis. Following in her father’s footsteps. Make it a summer wedding, Emily had pleaded with them. Before school starts.

But Lauren figured Emily wasn’t worried about her schedule as much as she was worried about her parents working things out. Even so, Shane wouldn’t budge. He wanted to wait and work through some of the issues that stood in their way. Faith, his career choice, their politics, and nearly twenty years between the first time they fell in love and this second chance …

That was fine. Lauren would wait. She’d do whatever it took to prove to Shane that she could deal with all this. The smallness of Fallon, Nevada; the hour’s drive west to the Fallon Airport every time her editors at Time magazine sent her on an assignment. And the incessant sound of fighter jets overhead. She could learn to deal with all of it, right? Even if there were days when being so close to a military base threatened her sanity.

Shane set the plates down and turned into her arms. So you’re saying — he wove his fingers through her straight blonde hair — I have nothing to wonder about.

At his touch, the warm tone in his voice, Lauren’s world righted itself. She relaxed in his embrace. Nothing.

Alright, then. He kissed the tip of her nose. I’ll get the lasagna.

As long as Shane responded to her this way, as long as it took only her kiss to send him into her arms, then she could find a way to live here. She had to find a way. Yes, she was still writing military features for the magazine and flying around the country for interviews several times each month. Most of the time that was enough. So what if some days she wanted to jump on a plane and head back to Afghanistan, to her work as a Time magazine war correspondent. Never mind that she still mistrusted the government and the military and their roles in the Iraqi war. Never mind that her fiancé’s political views were on the other end of the hemisphere from hers …

As long as she had Shane, she could look past all of it.

The doorbell rang, and Lauren took a step back from the table. Their company had arrived. Three couples, none of whom she knew. Not really. Two of the guys worked with Shane in the training department, and the third was a pilot they were considering as an addition to the instruction staff. Each was bringing his wife.

Lauren took a deep breath. The conversation would be predictable, but she would smile through every minute. She headed for the door, glancing over her shoulder. I’ll get it.

Thanks. Shane didn’t sound at all concerned. His opinionated fiancée was about to share an evening with three couples whose viewpoints didn’t line up with hers, but he wasn’t uptight. He trusted her.

The thought eased her tension. She smiled, opened the door, and found all three couples waiting. One of the guys was small and compact, with bright, laughing eyes. His exaggerated shrug was full of good humor. We all showed up at the same time. He looked at the others. Imagine that.

The others laughed, and a beat later, Lauren did too. Yes. Imagine that. When everyone was inside, she shut the door and introduced herself. One of the guys — the heavyset one — she’d seen before. But she hadn’t met the smaller guy, nor the pilot, nor any of their wives. Lauren felt better once they were past the introductions. The wives — Becky, a redhead; Sally, a blonde; and Ann, a petite brunette — seemed friendly enough. Becky noticed Lauren’s colorful beaded necklace.

I haven’t seen anything like it. The woman looked a little too well put together. She moved in closer and studied the beads. Macy’s?

No. Lauren kept her tone even. She paused. Afghanistan. She measured their reaction. A local woman made it for me.

Oh — Becky smiled — How interesting.

Yes. Ann, the brunette wife of the shorter pilot nodded. When we’ve spent time overseas I always buy from the locals. She looked at the others. Very vogue.

The economy in Afghanistan is in a shambles. Lauren touched her necklace. I try to support the people as much as possible. As soon as she said the words, she chided herself. The explanation wasn’t necessary. The redhead was only trying to be kind, trying to find common ground by giving her the compliment.

A silence fell over the group, an awkward silence. Buying a necklace overseas was one thing, but from Afghanistan? As a way of supporting the country’s economy? Suddenly it was as if all of them were remembering that Lauren was different. Certainly one or another of them had heard about her, Shane Galanter’s liberal fiancée. The one person in their midst who didn’t feel a sense of pride and purpose every time she passed a military base, who made her living writing for Time magazine.

Finally Ann smiled. Those Afghani women must cherish the freedom to make and sell their wares.

Touché. Lauren gritted her teeth and kept herself from responding. The brunette was right. If Afghanistan hadn’t been liberated, the women couldn’t have presented themselves or their jewelry in public. But there were other problems, life-threatening issues that faced the Afghani people and the Iraqis. What was the United States doing about that?

Shane found them in the entryway. He seemed to sense that things were a bit tense. Well — he clapped his hands — Lauren and I made our best lasagna. He gestured down the hall toward the dining room and kitchen. Let’s move in and we can get started.

The others were happy to follow him. As he walked down the hall, Shane grinned at the guys and nodded at their wives. I’ll tell you what, he shook the pilot’s hand, that was some fancy flying you did the other day.

No doubt. The heavier guy took the spot on the other side of Shane. Best flying I’ve seen in years.

The women formed a small cluster as they headed into the dining room. Speaking of Macy’s, Becky tossed her red hair, It’s their big sale this week.

"I thought it was coming up. Ann eased her designer purse onto her shoulder and laughed. Sounds like a date night, ladies."

They rounded the corner and spilled into the dining room. Country music played from the living room, something slow and crooning. Shane took the pitcher of iced tea and held it up. Anyone thirsty?

The guys each reached for a glass, but the women kept talking. Lauren hung back in the hallway, pretending to arrange the vase of flowers Shane had bought for the evening.

Any night but Wednesday. Sally pulled a face that made the other women smile. Youth group meets at our house on Wednesdays.

And Chad wouldn’t miss that. Ann poked her finger in the air. The kid hated church until high school. Now you can’t keep him away from youth group.

I think maybe Chad’s noticing the girls more than the gospel. Becky raised an eyebrow.

Whatever. Ann moved toward the guys and the iced tea. As long as he’s going.

Okay, so Macy’s any night but Wednesday. Becky pretended to jot a note. Let’s aim for Tuesday.

Nods of approval followed, and the plan seemed set.

Lauren was still in the hallway, staring at the women. Was this what Shane wanted her to be? Someone whose greatest challenge in a given week was whether Tuesday or Wednesday would be better for shopping at Macy’s? Whether the kids liked youth group because of the gospel or the girls?

Then, as if a switch had been flipped, she caught herself. What was she doing, being silently critical of these women? Critical and judgmental and mean-spirited? Were her views against the war so entrenched that she would dislike a group of military wives simply for who they married? Regret and sorrow came over her in a rush. She had no right to judge these women or challenge them. They played both father and mother to their kids much of the time, and during wartime, they faced losses other people couldn’t understand.

She drew a slow breath. She would change her mood now, before they thought she was a terrible person. Before Shane saw how she was acting. She could hardly be a supporter of peace and then hurry into conflict right here in Shane’s living room. At that moment, Sally tucked a piece of her blonde hair behind her ears, turned toward Lauren, and came a few steps closer. Her slim shoulders lifted in a dainty shrug. Anything I can do to help?

Lauren looked across the room. Ann and Becky were lost in another conversation. In addition to everything else they thought about her, now they would think she was rude. She’d have to make it up to them later. She turned her attention to Sally. The woman had compassionate eyes. Lauren gave her a sheepish smile and nodded toward the kitchen. Help me slice the bread?

Sure. When they reached the counter where two hot loaves were sitting on separate cutting boards, Sally tilted her head. Ann and Becky don’t mean any harm.

I know. Lauren reached into the nearest drawer for a couple knives and handed one to Sally. I need to remember that everyone isn’t an enemy. Just because my views are different from everyone else’s in Fallon.

I know you think so, but you’re not that different. Sally shrugged. War’s complicated. Sally washed her hands and dried them on a nearby towel. We might be married to military guys, but we wonder, we question. She reached for one of the loaves of bread and began slicing it. We believe in the cause of the war in the Middle East, and we support our troops and the president. But we wouldn’t be breathing if we didn’t have concerns. Something deep and sad filled her eyes. Our husbands’ lives are at stake.

Lauren washed and dried her hands too and reached for one of the loaves of bread. She hadn’t thought about that. Even military people might not see things in entirely black and white. Something stirred in her heart, an unsettling thought that if she’d been wrong about the women she was sharing dinner with, maybe she’d been wrong about other aspects of the war. Maybe some of the things military information officers had told her hadn’t been so exaggerated or distorted after all. She ran the knife through her loaf and banished the thought. She could be wrong on some things. Tonight she was, and she was sorry. But she wasn’t wrong in her passion to see the war ended, to have the president admit that the loss of life and resources was all for naught and that nothing had been gained in the process.

Sally finished slicing her loaf. She lifted her eyes to Lauren. I’m a Christian. She looked across the room at Becky and Ann. We moved here from the Northwest. Most of the women I’ve met here, navy or married to navy, are Christians too. That defines them more than their politics. She was quiet for a minute. Seems that peace is a lot more about kindness and sacrifice than any kind of international political paradise.

Peace. There it was again. The idea that peace could come through more than one course of action. Shane had tried to convince her of that since they reunited just before Christmas, back in Illinois. Peace comes from the inside, he would tell her. Lauren wanted to believe it was true, but she couldn’t. Not yet, anyway. Sally was waiting for a response. Lauren moved the sliced bread from the cutting board to a wooden bowl. Peace is complicated, I guess. She kept her eyes on the bread. Just like war.

Hmm. Sally added in her bread. I guess.

Lauren wanted to let the subject go. Talking to Sally — to someone who didn’t see her as a freak of nature — was nice. If she stopped now, they could at least have the beginning of a friendship. But she couldn’t let it go. What I want is a peace that’ll send our kids home where they belong. Her tone was gentle, with a subtle pleading. Maybe if she explained herself well enough, they could be friends despite their fundamental differences. She sighed. I keep thinking of all those young people who’ve lost their lives. That’s why I’m against the war. Lauren looked over her shoulder at the chatty women in the dining room. If any of you lost a husband or brother or daughter, you’d switch sides in a heartbeat, don’t you think, Sally?

No. The blonde woman covered Lauren’s hand with her own. She exuded patience and her eyes shone in a way that Lauren had seen before — with Shane and their daughter Emily. That’s not how it works.

Something tightened in Lauren’s gut. She didn’t want to hear about patriotism and courage. Patriotic, why? Courageous over what? Sacrifice for whom? Dying for the sake of dying? Wasn’t that all any of them could say about a convoy of American kids being killed by a roadside bomb? Or being struck down by an insurgent sniper?

Lauren sighed. I’m sorry, Sally. I sort of have my mind made up on all that. She smiled. But tell me about the Northwest. Our daughter’s moving to Tacoma to play soccer for Pacific Lutheran University. I’ve always wanted to visit.

A sad smile tugged at the corners of Sally’s lips. We lived in the Portland area. She breathed in. It’s beautiful. Water runs through much of the city, and the trees are …

Lauren felt herself drift. In her mind’s eye, she was no longer in her kitchen, but standing among the orphans in a dusty, hot little structure where forty kids lived. She could almost feel herself handing out lollipops and then being called out into the courtyard. Hear someone say her name and then the sound of children running out behind her, following her …

Hear the scream of bullets spraying from snipers’ guns a dozen yards behind the building … hear the little girl crying out as she hit the ground …

No!

Heart pounding, Lauren tried to focus on Sally’s words, to let her description of Portland push the ugly images from her mind. She succeeded for a while, but during dinner, when the guys discussed the Fallon base and upkeep of older fighter jets, her mind drifted again. Back to the orphanage, the attack. The little boy and girl

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  • (4/5)
    The sequel to Even Now. This story brings back Emily and her parents and starts where Ever After left off. Lauren & Shane are working on their relationship and differences in hopes of getting married. They both still have differing views but are starting to put their trust in God to see the other's side. They are finally brought together.Emily is now in college and the story begins to focus on her as she attends college, plays soccer, and falls in love with Justin. Justin is in the Army and is deployed months after they meet and fall in love. The book follows their love as it is built and is an inspiration to Emily's parents. It also follows the tragedy that Emily faces and the hope that brings her through it. Kingsbury once again provides a wonderful story that is very realistic to today with a Christian perspective. It's the type of story that because it is realistic it doesn't always turn out the way that you had hoped with the perfect happily ever after you originally envisioned.
  • (3/5)
    Kingsbury gives us another tearjerker. The issue in this book is the war and the affect military life has on families. One couple is trying to get together after a long seperation--but their different political views on the war are keeping them apart. Meanwhile, their daughter Emily has a romance of her own--with a soldier, who predicably is eventually sent to Iraq. The author's conservative Christian spin on the war and the military comes through loud and clear in this book, which may be offputting to some readers. Also, if you like happy endings this is not the story for you.
  • (3/5)
    Read from June 26 to July 04, 2011
  • (3/5)
    Read from June 26 to July 04, 2011
  • (3/5)
    Read from June 26 to July 04, 2011
  • (4/5)
    A must read for anyone who has someone serving in the military, or who knows someone serving in the military, as well as veterans and their families; helps us discover the meaning of sacrifice, and the great love God has for us who sacrificed His Son on our behalf.